Serious Black – “Magic” (AFM Records)
With a seriously stellar line up comprising of members of Firewind, Rhapsody, Tad Morose, Edenbridge, Visions of Atlantis and Dreamscape, this melodic power metal band return with their 3rd release, a concept album based on well, you guessed it – magic! Created by vocalist Urban Breed, the story introduces us to Mr. Nightmist, a figure who through generations, is shrouded in mystique and legend. As such, the intention is that the 14 tracks take the listener on a journey through a world of mystery. Well, as an oldster I’m not great on imagining things these days, but my response to class A rock and metal is still there without a doubt. Indeed, not withstanding the concept, the music is anything but abstract – let alone boring. While some of the songs like ‘Serious Black Magic’ do have a whiff of the theatrical, there’s no doubting the sheer rock power inherent in the material, alongside of which glide some of the most beautiful n catchy metallic melodies like on ‘Just Kill Me’ courtesy of twin guitarists Bob Katsionis and Dominik Sebastian, all the while backed by Alex Holzwarth’s galloping drums especially on the thundering ‘Burn! Witches Burn!’!!! Along with Jan Vacik’s keyboards, which for the most part play a less prominent role and tend to be confined to the periphery of the guitar favoring mix, on the racing but romantic ‘The Witch Of Caldwell Town’ with its bombastic rhythms it does get a deserved role in adding even more melody as well as atmospherics that certainly don’t go unnoticed! Indeed, the keyboards actually take the lead on the highly catchy melodic rocker ‘Lone Gunman Rule’ and on the serene closer ‘One Final Song’ they form one part of the duet along with Urban Breed’s vocals to bring a rousing climatic finish to what is yet another masterful release from this seriously classy band – highly recommended!